American Sniper is the adapted autobiography of Chris Kyle, the acclaimed sniper in the Navy SEAL’s. The story follows his incredible 4 tour journey showing insight into the trials and challenges a soldier must take on both the battlefield and at home.
Given his track record behind the camera, Clint Eastwood was undoubtedly one of the better directors to take on the challenge. His patriotic style works well, but he seems to really shine during the dramatic moments, getting arguably some of the best performances of the year from his actors (which arent him for once). Surprisingly however, the tone wasnt what I expected, the trailer was complete edge of your seat drama, but when I sat down, it was more a slow pressure cooker. Dont get me wrong, it didnt take anything away from the picture but this slight lack of creativity did leave a slight aura of disappointment which other films like the Hurtlocker, Zero Dark Thirty or even last years Lone Survivor managed to overcome.
The story is adapted wonderfully for the film. Its haunting sense of reality echoes between each scene with the pain of loss and weight of duty expressed emotionally rather than physically. Its this style of story telling that makes you feel much more emotionally connected to the actual character rather than the usual Rambo-esque finale that so many war films tend to become. This marriage of story and direction makes for an incredibly hypnotic watch that will leave you glued to your seat.
Bradley Coopers performance is second to non and without a doubt a strong contender for this years Oscars. His strong Texan accent seems to come quite effortlessly from the native Canadian and his portrayal of Kyle is made more real with each interaction he has on screen. Sienna Miller’s lack of stage presence is ironically noticeable as usual, but thankfully she is not on screen long enough to detract from the overall experience.
American Sniper does not take any chances with the camera but its focus on the emotional rather than the physical drives the story into the heart rather than the muscles. 4 out of 5 stars for this hypnotic film.